IHRSA and Fitness Brasil say they have signed a partnership agreement that will see the two organisations working together on industry events for 'at least six years'.
The move will see the two strengthening their operations on the Brazilian health and fitness market and comes at a time when Fitness Brasil begins operations under new ownership.
According to Jay Ablondi, IHRSA executive vice president of global products, the partnership will "provide certainty" for the Brazilian fitness industry, after it has been hit hard by the pandemic.
Ablondi said: "IHRSA and Fitness Brasil have helped the Brazilian industry navigate many challenges over these many years, and we look forward to working alongside their team in the years to come to help the entire industry recover."
He added that plans were currently being drawn up to organise the annual IHRSA Fitness Brasil Latin American Conference & Trade Show, with dates for the event's 22nd-anniversary event to be announced: "in the coming months".
"After an uncertain and tense 2020, this year’s event is poised to energise the fitness industry and set a unified path forward," Ablondi said.
The event is expected to be scheduled late in the year, as Brazil is currently in the grip of an uncontrolled COVID-19 crisis, recording its highest death rate since the start of the pandemic (66,500 in March 2021) and with numbers expected to increase in April. The total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Brazil is second only to the US.
Pre-pandemic, the annual Fitness Brasil trade show was routinely the third largest gathering of club operators and industry suppliers of its kind worldwide.
Gustavo Almeida, Fitness Brasil executive director, told HCM: “Our industry is being redefined by the tough times that we are all living in, so after the storm, I truly believe we will be seen as an essential service, as we have always deserved to be.”
Jacqueline Antunes, IHRSA director for Latin America, said: “The extension of our partnership at these challenging moments is very important for both organisations.
"More than ever, the Latin American industry needs us to bring together the club operators and industry suppliers to find ways to a prosperous path for the fitness and wellbeing industry.
IHRSA and Fitness Brasil have collaborated on fitness industry events since 2000.
The 'Brazil varient' of the Sars-CoV-2 Coronavirus (COVID-19), called P1, emerged in December last year in or around the northern city of Manaus in central Brazil.
The Brazil variant is more contagious than the initial strain of the virus and can re-infect people who have had the original.
P1 has spread rapidly across Brazil, where COVID-19 is escalating out of control, claiming 66,500 lives in March 2021 – more than double the number of deaths when compared to the second-highest month for deaths of July 2020. April is on track to record a higher death toll than March.
Brazil's total death count now stands around 360,000, second only to the United States.
Due to lack of testing, scientists say it's unclear to what extent P1 is causing the surge in cases.